I'm STILL in the hospital, getting IV antibiotics and having icky things done to my wound. However, I saw one of my "original" doctors today (who helped deliver Kenny G - that's how long I've known him) and he cleared me to go up to NICU. I've had enough antibiotics that I'm no longer infectious.
So, I can personally report the Andrea update today. She has gained more weight, now tipping the scales at 570 grams, or 1 pound, 4 ounces. She'll get measured later tonight, so we'll know how much longer she is. We were happy to see that Andrea is growing some muscle - most noticeably in her upper arms and lower legs. Her rib cage is less bony, too, so the weight is showing. We learned that her milk is being fortified with calories - basically, they've just made it more fattening. Andrea is getting 7 ml of milk in her feedings now. The increase will continue every 12 hours until she is getting 9 ml per feeding. After that, they'll slow the rate of increase.
The most exciting thing about the visit today was that I got a chance to be hands on with Andrea. Mom and I got there just as her nurse was about to do her routine checks and care. I was able to take Andrea's temperature, which was not popular with Andrea. She can't cry because of the breathing tube, but you could tell from her face that she was crying silently. It was funny and heartbreaking at the same time! I was also able to change her diaper - a big challenge on a little baby. Trying to keep all the wires out of the way while holding on to such tiny legs was not easy. And you've never seen such tiny diapers! Still, it was a huge treat to feel like Mom and care for my baby, instead of relying on the nurses for everything.
Since Andrea got blood yesterday, she is much more her normal self today. She was asleep when we got up to NICU, but was wiggling her toes and waving her arms in her sleep. I love watching her hands, which have unusually long fingers, and are pretty big in general for such a small baby. Just to keep the news current, Andrea's ventilator settings continue to be on the low end, her blood counts are normal, and her sugar is fine.
Many people have commented on how positive Andrea's recovery has been so far. I realized that many of you reading this blog might not know the whole story of Andrea, and why we believe she's doing so well.
When we had the 20 week ultrasound, there were some issues with Andrea's development that concerned the doctors. She was abnormally small for her gestational age, and her arms and legs were even smaller than her head and torso. As a result, we opted for an amniocentesis to rule out genetic abnormalities. We had a wonderful geneticist, who met with us and gave us good advice about the testing. We opted for an inclusive set of tests, including one that looked at individual genes on Andrea's chromosomes. Ultimately, I developed complications from the amnio that set this chain of events in motion. However, the GOOD news is that when the results came back, there is nothing genetically wrong with Andrea. She is a completely healthy baby. She was born early because there were dramatic problems with her placenta. Even though the NICU doctors can't mimic a placenta 100%, Andrea's placenta was functioning so badly that NICU is an improvement. We believe that Andrea is doing so well because she is a healthy baby.
As always, please continue to pray for Andrea. There is a whiteboard near her isolette that says "Baby Steps Forward". That's what we are doing: taking baby steps forward toward her coming home to us. Every prayer helps.
If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believeth. Mark 9:23